US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot at Arizona supermarket

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Giffords in 2007

US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot at a public event in Tucson, Arizona today. At least five were killed and several others were wounded in the shooting, including at least one of Giffords' staff. The shooting occurred at a Safeway supermarket where Giffords, a Democratic Party member who represented Arizona's 8th congressional district, had scheduled a public "Congress on Your Corner" event.

Giffords was widely reported as having died after the attack, but her public relations personnel later said she was undergoing surgery. Giffords was shot in the head at close range, and according to the Pima County sheriff, Giffords, aged 40, died from the attack. National Public Radio, however, reported that there were conflicting reports about her death.

Giffords was airlifted to a nearby hospital and underwent emergency surgery. A spokesperson for University Medical Center said, "She is currently in surgery. She's alive," adding that nine other shooting victims had been taken to the hospital. After the surgery, the hospital announced Giffords was alive with a single gunshot wound to the head and that she was responsive.

The hospital also said that a nine-year-old was among those killed in the shooting. David Gonzales, a US Marshal, said that federal judge John Roll also died from his wounds. President Barack Obama said the shooter killed a total of five people.

Peter Michaels, of Arizona Public Media, said Giffords had been speaking to several people when someone began firing randomly from around 4 feet (1.2 metres) away. The gunman attempted to flee but was tackled by an onlooker and taken into police custody. Described as in his late teens to early twenties, he was later identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner, who used a handgun in the attack.


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